James Blake and Death Grips had Two of the Top Songs Of the Week, April 30-May 6
Fri, 06 May 2016 15:44:18
This week we heard new songs from Alicia Keys, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Charli XCX. All of them keep things lighthearted and radio friendly. Alicia Keys "In Common" is undeniable pop, it's nearly a Rihanna song. Not bad. Red Hot Chili Peppers find their way through another funky groove, adding touches of piano for complexity. Charli XCX is at her infectious best on "Explode," a single taken off the Angry Birds OST.
Meanwhile, the top songs for this week came from slightly left of center artists. James Blake and Death Grips are two artists who work just outside the margins of the mainstream, tampering and tweaking with the pop zeitgeist to their hearts content. In both artists there's the sense of independent minds pursuing their own authentic vision of musical identity within the context of a hyper-saturated digital culture. That their visions have proven as accessible as they are, given the audiences they've established, is a reminder that ingenuity still pays off, which is, y'know, a cool thing to remember. Another thing you should remember in case your memory's bad, this Sunday is Mother's Day. Call your mother! Here's the top songs of the week.
Mitski - Happy
The second single from Mitski's soon-to-be-released Puberty 2 LP is strong on narrative and strong on rhythmic build. Along with the previous single, "Your Best American Girl," "Happy" hits you with a feeling of self-possessed cathartic urgency.
Marissa Nadler - Katie I Know
"So strange to be in that same backyard again / Same pictures on the walls / It's hard to know when to let go," so goes Marissa Nadler into a liminal zone of discovery and reflection. The song's tone and pacing signal weariness, even as the song's symphonic textures breath fresh mystery.
Nite Jewel - Don't Turn Me Away [ft. Zoë Kravitz and Samantha Urbani]
This neon slow jam comes courtesy of Lucky Number's reissue of New Wave singer Rexy's 1981 album Running Out Of Time.
James Blake - I Need a Forest [ft. Justin Vernon]
James Blake surprise-released The Colour In Anything last night. The Justin Vernon-featuring "I Need a Forest" is a standout. The two previously collaborated on 2011's "Fall Creek Boys Choir."
Death Grips - Eh
Bottomless Pit is out now along with the new single, "Eh," which is actually kind of tame by Death Grips standards. Which is to say it's very good. Sometimes Death Grips anarchic-nihilistic impulses get the best of them and the band divulges into rage-filled noise that lacks structure and focus. "Eh," however, while it's full of rebellious energy, has a lucid core.
—The ARTISTdirect Staff
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